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Who says you can’t learn anything from TV? If you really look closely, outside of just the entertainment, TV shows teach us a lot. Sometimes it’s like an onion, peeling back layers and layers of lessons for the viewer to take back. If you’re not quick enough, you just might miss it.

There are certain characters who teach us over and over again – through their resilience, their ruthlessness, their vulnerability – and they all happen to be women. Here are 5 female lead characters who bring something extra to their roles.

Lesson #1: Be Your Own Ray of Sunshine

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Kimmy Schmidt

Kimmy Schmidt from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Kimmy might have one of the most depressing lives on television. She was kidnapped and lived as a “mole woman” underground for 15 years. Now that she’s living life above ground again, Kimmy has to readjust to life in the new millennium, and it’s difficult. 

Despite not understanding cultural references from 2015 or basic algebra she would have learned in high school, Kimmy trucks along, all while keeping a smile on her face. To cope with things that might get her down, she’s instituted “Kimmying” where she “smile(s) until you feel better.” Making the most of those moments keeps her head way above water. It’s the age-old tale of faking it ’til you make it. If you feel good on the outside, it’s bound to seep in, and your shine will begin to radiate through.

Lesson #2: Stay Disciplined

Scandal - Season four - Kerry Washington

Olivia Pope from Scandal

There’s no way Olivia could run Pope & Associates if she weren’t disciplined. She has a tight hand on how her company is run and how her clients are “handled.” Considering all of the issues that surround Olivia, she has a way of sticking to her routine to ensure everyone is on track. If she weren’t so task-oriented, she’d never have made her way to the White House – in any capacity. Olivia has clear goals mapped out for herself. The beauty of it all is that she can put her personal issues aside so her problems don’t spill into her work. And that’s a true talent.

Lesson #3: Be Strong-Willed

House of Cards – Claire Underwood

Claire Underwood from House of Cards

If you take a deep look at her psyche, Claire just might be a narcissist. But even with that heavy of a label, you can still learn something from the steel-hearted First Lady. In the show’s first two seasons, she handled business by any means necessary. Claire doesn’t let ANYONE tell her what she can and cannot do. She sets her own rules. If there’s something she doesn’t agree with, trust, she’ll speak up. On the flip side, she’ll make sacrifices if she has to. Having a copious amount of willpower is needed in order to truly succeed. 

Lesson #4: Make Fun of Yourself

Bob's Burgers - Linda Belcher

Linda Belcher from Bob’s Burgers

If you don’t know this now – and it’s very important – life is too short to take too seriously. If you can’t laugh at what’s going on around you, then you won’t make it too far because you’re too busy sweating the small stuff. Linda lives this mantra to the fullest, and laughs at herself any chance she gets. If her tweenage daughter has a crush on a kid from her class, she’s not going to make her daughter feel bad or embarrassed about her silly love. She’s going to find the humor in the situation to make it through. 

Lesson #5: Stay Focused

How to Get Away with Murder - Viola Davis

Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder

Annalise doesn’t care about the rumors swirling around her. Maybe she’s a murderer, maybe she’s not. Maybe she had her lover framed, maybe she didn’t. Who cares? She has a job to do, students to teach, and she’s going to do it well – because she’s focused entirely on the task at hand. Get the job done, efficiently and effectively. This is how Annalise runs her world, and it’s done well for her, professionally at least. When you stay focused on plans, you prove to be invaluable and indispensable. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Netflix

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